Drastic changes are underway in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ procedures in the issuance of environmental, forestry and mining permits, in an effort to improve efficiency and eradicate corruption.
I assure investors and businessmen, both foreign and local, that the Department will undertake reforms that would hasten the issuance of permits by removing unnecessary requirements that would impede their operation.
The main reason that investors are reportedly setting their focus on other places for business opportunities is because of unreasonable and restrictive rules that accompany the environmental permitting system.
The simplification of the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) procedures is not just about reducing processing time, but more importantly, to strengthen accountability, improve efficiency, remove opportunities for corruption and promote transparency for sustainable development.
The simplification of procedures in the DENR permitting system is in consonance with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s program on reducing bureaucratic requirements that blocks the flow of investment into the country.
The proposed simplification process however, will not compromise environmental protection as he stressed for strict monitoring by the DENR.
The issuance of ECCs will be reduced from six months to 20 working days to one month, while certificates of non-coverage (CNCs) will be cut down from three weeks to one day.
Local government units (LGUs) will be given greater responsibility in the determination of social acceptability aspect of the proposed projects.
The local government units, being at the forefront of development in the countryside, are more in a position to determine the acceptability of projects within their respective areas, in accordance with their land-use plan.
Present during the meeting were land developers, industry associations from mining and forestry, business groups, non-government organizations, representatives from international development agencies and media.